NOTTINGHAM: Had Shikhar Dhawan not hurt his finger, the Indian team would not have carried concerns from London to Nottingham. Saying this will not be completely correct, considering that there are these other things which might have gone unnoticed following the uncertainty over the opener.
Kuldeep Yadav is one of those. Tipped to be the trump card and drawing rave reviews for practising a rare form of craft, the chinaman’s performance was acceptable against South Africa in the first match and not quite so in the second against Australia.
That he went for 55 in nine overs is not the main worry. Him going wicketless is. He bowls a variety which can result in runs, but with it comes the corollary that it will fetch wickets. And that, in turn, will make the difference. This has not happened in this World Cup so far.
Kuldeep has bowled 19 overs in two matches for just the wicket of JP Duminy in Southampton.
Sure there is plenty of time for him to turn things around, but the lack of trouble batsmen have faced against him might start causing worries if this goes on. That the team is unable to practise due to the weather can complicate matters further.
Among other things, this has made sure that the bowling coach has had to deal with the psychological side as well, instead of sticking mainly to the technical aspects.
“At times like these my job is to remind him of all the good things he has done in the past,” said Bharath Arun.
“Sometimes, players go away from the basics. So I try to show them if need be, the very things which got them success. When you do that, they get it right. Basically, it’s about building confidence.”
One of most talked about names in one-day cricket over the last 18 months, Kuldeep is a bit of a gamble by nature because of the trade he plies.
He can run through a side on his day and go for plenty when batsmen get it right. It’s a thin line which the team has decided to tread.
There might still be sides, which can find it difficult against him and New Zealand is one of those. In successive games against them in January, Kuldeep returned four-wicket hauls.
Keeping that in mind, there is a chance that Kuldeep will retain his place in the XI if the match against New Zealand takes place on Thursday. That might well turn out to be his last chance.
With Ravindra Jadeja in the squad, the team might be tempted to go for the option with lesser potential to take wickets, but one that assures a better economy rate.